Friday, March 6, 2015

STATUS QUO: Union, League Reach Agreement

Games will be played this weekend as the MLS Players Union and the League reach a tentative agreement on the terms of the next CBA. The details still have to be ironed out but we are getting snippets leaking out here and there. Here's a quick and informal list of what we know, in order of what I think most important.

1.  SALARY CAP (team budget) : Not what some expected (even below my lowest estimates). I've heard a couple different numbers, the one that seems to stick 15% bump in 2015 with 5% incremental increases till 2019.

2014 -- 3,100,000
2015 -- 3,565,000
2016 -- 3,743,250
2017 -- 3,930,413
2018 -- 4,126,933
2019 -- 4,333,280

There was another report out there of 20% bump this year +7% each of the next 5 years but that comes from LA's Todd Dunivant, of whom I respect, but think is including allocation funds. Even with that number, 2019 is still below 5 million.

2.  FREE AGENTS : Players get what the most fought for; free agency - albeit very controlled. It will require 8 years of MLS experience as well as being 28 years old. From there, depending on your pay rate, your contract can only be bid up by 15-25% depending on current salary (lower the salary, the higher the bid can be).

3.  ROSTER SIZE : This one hasn't really been reported on much but according to Sports Illustrated it has gone from 30 players to 28. I consider any loss of jobs / union membership a loss for any industry but probably made way for the next item:

4.  MINIMUM SALARY : Some changes here but still muddy. Early reports had minimum wages increasing from 37k to 60k but that has been walked back a bit. Sounds like now that will be 50k for the off budget guys and 60k for anyone "on budget" (most on-budget guys 1-20 made more than that anyway). Looking at last years wages that means about 150 players just got a raise. This will cost the league around $1.1 million dollars to do. Reports have the 60k figure creeping up to 70k by 2019.

5.  NEW CBA LENGTH : Five years. Which, in my mind is all but three of the ESPN / Fox / Unimas TV deal they just signed. It also bridges the next World Cup in Russia and will be negotiated a year after the "IS SOCCER THE NEXT BIG THING" hype.

So, there are the major points as I know them now. There are some other details I see here and there, like that three DPs is still the limit but I'll wait for the ratified contract to sort that sort of stuff out.

It's more of the same for MLS, ultimately. There are those of us here at Helltown - even as critical of the league that we are - thought the new cap would be much, much higher because of the new TV deal. It's looking like most of that money is going to where I sort of suspected though -- USMNT.

Important to not that the MLS Players Union Executive Board is made up of the following guys:

Todd Dunivant (34 yrs old / 11 yrs MLS XP)
Jeff Larentowicz (31/10)
Dan Kennedy (32/10)
Brad Evans (29/8)
Sam Cronin (28/6)

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